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Competition Among Courting Male Moths: Male-to-Male Inhibitory Pheromone

, : Competition Among Courting Male Moths: Male-to-Male Inhibitory Pheromone. Science 202(4368): 644-645

The behavioural function of a pheromone containing benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol and benzoic acid released by adult males of Mythimna unipuncta (Haw.) (Pseudaletia unipuncta) [see RAE/A 61, 1455] was investigated in laboratory wind-tunnel experiments and field experiments with moth-baited traps in maize fields in California. Such male moth scents have been thought to act as close-range sexual stimulants for females of the same species. However, the only obvious effect was upon other males, decreasing their tendency to approach sexually receptive pheromone-releasing females and to exhibit copulatory behaviour when near those females. It is suggested that the adaptive significance of the male pheromone may be related to the increased reproductive efficiency that results if several males are prevented from competing for a single female.


PMID: 17754040

DOI: 10.1126/science.202.4368.644

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